Cable Committee

Cable Advisory Committee - Policy Development

The Cable Advisory Committee adopted the following as its Mission Statement on September 25, 2006:

To inform and educate the residents of Douglas by:

  • The recording and broadcast of local government meetings
  • Fostering the production of local events of special interest
  • Develop and enforce cable licenses in the best interest of the community
  • Make available video production technology and training to the public
  • Provide cable broadcast access to every Douglas resident

Following are the policies of the Douglas Cable Advisory Committee. If you have any comments or questions, on these policies, please contact us at cable@douglasma.org, 508-476-4000 x122, or by mail at 29 Depot St., Douglas, MA 01516.


Policy and Procedure Development

The Cable Advisory Committee shall develop policies and procedures that are consistent with its mission statement and the Charge of the Board of Selectmen.

All policies and procedures will be subject to public review for a period of no less than twenty-one days from first Committee discussion to Committee vote.  Policies shall be in effect once approved by a majority of members present at an open meeting.

Policies and procedures of an emergency nature may be adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of members present at an open meeting.  All emergency policies and procedures take effect immediately and must be reported with explanation to the Board of Selectmen within seven days. Emergency policies and procedures will expire unless ratified by the Committee within sixty days of the date of adoption.

The Cable Advisory Committee shall notify the public of ongoing policy and procedure discussions through the use of an electronic web page, town mailings, bulletin board postings, and/or other reasonable means.

The Cable Advisory Committee shall maintain a current collection of policies and procedures available for public inspection in the Cable office, in both hard copy and electronic form.


Open Meeting Recording and Broadcast - (Approved 7/18/16)

The policy of the Cable Advisory Committee is to video record all open meetings for broadcast playback on the government access television channel, as well as online streaming and download through the Town website.  New meeting groups will be notified prior to the first recording.  Exceptions will only be allowed by a Cable Advisory Committee vote.

The Cable Advisory Committee will also cooperate with other entities in order to record government agencies which impact Douglas.


Electronic Bulletin Board

The Cable Advisory Committee shall maintain an electronic “Bulletin Board” of items of interest to the general public.  The Bulletin Board shall be displayed on one or more Cable channels for at least four hours between midnight and noon, and at least four hours between noon and midnight, with such times to be either contiguous or non-contiguous.

All local government, non-profit, and informal not-for-profit organizations may submit items for the Bulletin Board.  Use of the Bulletin Board by for-profit organizations and purposes is prohibited under any circumstances.

Use of the Bulletin Board to advocate any position of a political nature or candidate for elective office is prohibited.  General non-advocacy notices, such as those announcing a local party caucus, shall not be construed as prohibited by this policy.

The Committee shall develop a form to provide clear instructions and process for the submission of items for the Bulletin Board.  This form shall provide instructions on the amount of submittal time required, the maximum length of a message, and the maximum time a message shall appear.

The public shall be encouraged to submit items electronically.  Printed submittals otherwise consistent with the electronic form shall also be accepted.


Channel Availability

The Cable Advisory Committee shall be responsible for maintaining two cable channels, referred to as the Public and Government channels.  The School Department programs the Education channel.  The Cable Advisory Committee shall work cooperatively with the School Department as needs warrant.

The Public channel shall be primarily for programming submitted by residents of the Town and organizations based in the Town as defined in the Public Access Programming submissions policy.

The Government channel shall be primarily for programming produced by and about town government, such as Committee meetings, Town Meetings, and any official government productions.


Public Channel Programming - Submission - (Update Approved 3/14/16)

Any person who is a resident of the Town of Douglas shall be provided the right to submit programming for broadcast on the Public Channel.  Non-residents are encouraged to seek a sponsor within the town to submit their programming.  All programs must have a sponsor.

The person who created a program is considered the Producer.  If a person did not create a program, but are requesting that program to be aired, they are considered the Sponsor.  No program shall air unless requested to be aired by either a Producer or a Sponsor.  The Cable Advisory Committee shall not be the Producer or Sponsor of any program, although individual members of the Committee can be either.

Under no circumstance shall the Cable Advisory Committee refuse to air any program based on the content of that program, unless the content is pornographic or otherwise prohibited by state or federal laws.

Programs which are understood to be of an adult nature shall be aired only between the hours of 10:00pm and 5:00am.

The Cable Advisory Committee shall establish forms and procedures for the submittal of programming for the Public Channel.  These forms shall indemnify the Town of Douglas regarding the content of programming.  By signing the submission form, the program sponsor assumes any and all legal liability relating to the program.

No program shall be aired without a completed submission form.

The Cable Advisory Committee may refuse submissions of incompatible formats or of poor image or sound quality.


Public Channel Programming – Scheduling

Programs submitted to the Public Channel shall be aired on a fair and unbiased schedule. No person or program shall be given special privileges or priority for the broadcast based on their position in the community or for any other reason.

The specific schedule shall be determined by the Cable Access Coordinator or other person assigned the responsibility of maintaining the schedule by the Cable Advisory Committee.

The Producer or Sponsor of a Program may request a specific schedule.  Those requests shall be taken under advisement but cannot be guaranteed.


Public Channel Programming – Production Assistance - (Update Approved 3/14/16)

The Cable Advisory Committee shall provide assistance at no charge to those who wish to become “Producers” in order to create programming for the Public Channel. 

The objective of this assistance shall be to provide Producers with the knowledge to become independent in their productions.  Assistance shall be provided based on staff and volunteer availability, and priority will be given to generate new programming.

Producer Requirements
In order to create your own program with Douglas Cable Access equipment for air on Douglas Cable Access Public Channel and optionally streaming online, there are some minimum requirements.

  • Under 18:  Guardian must sign off on all documents.
  • Under 16:  Guardian must be present.
  • Open to Douglas:  Residents, Municipal Employees, Business Owners and their Staff.
  • Successful Completion of the Digital Video Fundamental Training.
  • *Provide a Production Crew:  Writer, Director, Designer, Engineer, Talent, Editor.
  • *You can fill any and all roles yourself, but they need to be filled by the Producer.
  • “Program Idea” Submission Form.
  • Signed Producer’s Indemnification Form.

Douglas Cable Access will provide, upon meeting the above requirements:

  • Douglas Cable will get your show up and running, but producers will ultimately be responsible for their own production.
  • Room Reservation at the Municipal Center for producer meetings, read-throughs, rehearsals, and filming.
  • Camera, lighting, and audio equipment on loan as needed.
  • Video Editing Bay time upon reservation.
  • Training on all equipment.
  • Broadcast of final program on the Public channel and optionally streaming online.

Public Channel Programming – Training

The Cable Advisory Committee shall offer periodic classes in television production.  Priority shall be given to residents of Douglas.

The Cable Advisory Committee shall offer other training opportunities to the public, such as making available books, product manuals, and online courseware.

All training shall be offered free of charge to residents of Douglas.


Public Channel Programming – Equipment Availability

The Cable Advisory Committee shall make equipment available to Producers who wish to create programming.  Equipment may be designated as non-removable from the Cable studio area.  Certain equipment may require additional training as determined by the Cable Advisory Committee or their designee.

No equipment shall be borrowed from the Cable studio without the Producer completing a sign-out form.

The Cable Advisory Committee shall also make available appropriate recording media at no charge for the production of programming.

Equipment and recording media may only be used for the production of programming for broadcast on the Douglas PEG channels, or for the support of Douglas government operations.  The use of equipment or media for any other purpose is prohibited, without the formal approval of the Cable Advisory Committee.


Producers

Any person that has completed a video production course offered by the Cable Advisory Committee will be approved as a Producer.  A person may also be named a Producer by demonstrating equivalent knowledge at the discretion of the Cable Advisory Committee or its designee.

The Cable Advisory Committee shall maintain a list of Producers.  A list of volunteer Producers shall be made available for assistance in programming production.


Violations

The Cable Advisory Committee or its designee is authorized to issue warnings and suspensions.

Major violations will result in an immediate 90-day suspension of equipment use privileges and may be brought to the attention of Douglas Police Department.  These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Violence, threat of violence, or verbal abuse towards staff or volunteers.
  • Commercial or profit-making use of Douglas facilities or equipment.
  • Misrepresentation of Douglas residency.
  • Falsifying forms.
  • Unauthorized use or access of production facilities and/or equipment.
  • Abuse of equipment.
  • Facility reconfiguration.
  • Misrepresenting program content.
  • Refusal to return equipment.

Any subsequent major violation will result in the immediate and permanent loss of equipment and facilities privileges.


Compensation - (Update Approved 3/14/16)

Compensation may be offered for the following purposes:

  • To persons who are deemed to be qualified to conduct course offerings.
  • To persons appointed to produce local programming.

Compensation must be approved by prior vote of the Cable Advisory Committee and is subject to the availability of funds.


Individual Meeting Requests – Approved October 15, 2007

Consistent with the Charge to the Cable Advisory Committee (CAC), the CAC shall record and broadcast any meeting or event so requested by the Board of Selectmen, Executive Administrator, or required by Town Bylaws, subject to the availability of staffing and resources.  Further, the Chair of any Committee may request that an individual meeting of their own Committee may be recorded and broadcast.  These requests shall not require formal vote of the CAC, and can be decided upon by the Chair or the Cable Coordinator.

Individual meetings otherwise recorded by any person will be considered Public Access programming and if requested, broadcast under appropriate Public Channel policies.


Government Programming – Distribution – Approved October 15, 2007

All Government programming shall air on the Government Channel, and shall also be made available on the online archive of Government programs.

The Cable Advisory Committee shall establish a minimum regular schedule of programs to be broadcast on the Government channel.  This shall include, at a minimum, standard playback times for Board of Selectmen meetings.  It is recognized that programs regularly vary in length and quantity, thus any permanent full schedule of all Government programs is difficult to produce.

The Cable Coordinator or his/her designee shall schedule meetings not covered by the minimum schedule defined above.  Schedules should vary daily.  All Government meetings shall air at least three times during the hours of 9am to 11pm within two weeks following the meeting.


Video Copy Requests - Approved April 9, 2008

Although the Cable Adivisory Committee is not the keeper of the records, we will made copies of programs as requested for a fee to be determined by the Cable Advisory Committee.


Recording Assistants’ Participation in Meetings - Approved May 12, 2014

A Recording Assistant is scheduled, as a representative of the Cable Advisory Committee, to an assigned meeting to record that meeting for Cable.  All Recording Assistants must be respectful of the assigned meeting without interrupting.  This includes the setup time previous to the meeting, during the meeting, after the meeting concludes, and while breaking down equipment.

If a Recording Assistant anticipates the need to participate in, or has business before an assigned meeting, the Recording Assistant must contact the Cable Coordinator to schedule someone else for that meeting.

If an unanticipated need for the Recording Assistant to participate arises, step away from the Cable equipment and sit/stand in the attendee area to clarify that your participation will not be coming from your position as Recording Assistant.  You will need to wait to be recognized by the Chair before participating in the meeting.

Unforeseen technical issue(s) that arise during the meeting that can impede with the recording of the meeting may respectfully be brought to the attention of the chair.


Recording Assistants Late Notification Alert - Approved May 12, 2014

All Recording Assistants must provide a method of contact to be used by the Cable Coordinator as a “Late Notification Alert”.  The Recording Assistant must check their Late Notification Alert contact 2 hours before an assigned meeting for changes or cancellations.

No payment will be made if a Recording Assistant reports to record a meeting that has been cancelled using the Late Notification Alert.

Late Notification Contacts can be one of the following and must be agreed upon with the Cable Coordinator:  Cell or home phone with voicemail, cell phone text, or email.


Cable Advisory Committee Guidelines

Guidelines are instructions to Cable Advisory Committee staff and volunteers that by necessity are more fluid and flexible than policies.


Government Programming Guidelines – Schedule – Approved October 15, 2007 - (Update Approved 3/14/16)

This minimum schedule shall be followed whenever possible:

Board of Selectmen: Tuesday 7pm, Thursday 1pm

The Cable Advisory Committee may modify this schedule at any time.

Meetings listed above should be broadcast at additional times as well.  Meetings not listed above shall be aired in a frequency and duration to be determined by the Cable Coordinator. Such additional meetings will be broadcast during prime time (6-11pm) at least once per week and thereafter as equitably as possible. 

Meetings should be broadcast for a maximum of two weeks following the first broadcast of the meeting.  Meetings can be repeated more frequently or longer than two weeks upon request of any person if the meeting is of significant value and does not materially impact the scheduling of other programming.
The Cable Coordinator’s decisions on scheduling shall be final, and can only be superceded by vote of the Cable Advisory Committee.  The Coordinator or Committee may assign the implementation of the programming schedule to any other qualified person or persons in the event the Coordinator or his/her designee is unavailable to perform such duty.


Video Copy Requests fee structure - Approved April 9, 2008 - (Update Approved 3/14/16)

Requests for DVD duplication: No charge for up to three DVD's per week; $5.00 each DVD thereafter.

These fees can be waived by the Cable Committee Chair.


Public Event Recording - Approved December 20, 2010 - (Update Approved 3/14/16)

The Cable Coordinator shall periodically identify public events of community interest of which videotaping and broadcasting of those events may be beneficial to the community. For example, Douglas Octoberfest, the Memorial Day Parade, political candidate debates. For-profit events are not permitted, although paid fundraisers for not-for-profit organizations are permitted. Political events not open to participation by all equivalents (such as single-party or single-candidate events) are not permitted.

Meetings or presentations of a Town Government body or personnel are classified as Government Programming thus not applicable to this policy.

A calendar of annual events shall be maintained by the Cable Coordinator. Additional one-time events may be added as appropriate and presented periodically to the Cable Committee and posted on the Town Web Site.

Video recording and editing of these events shall be coordinated by the Cable Coordinator, and may include the use of Cable staff.

Recognizing public events are not necessarily acceptable to be video recorded, the Coordinator shall obtain permission from the event management prior to videotaping the event. The Town of Douglas Cable Advisory Committee is the owner of both the raw and produced programming.

The event management shall be provided up to three DVD copies of produced event programming; additional copies may be provided upon request and based on available resources.This programming shall be broadcast on the Public Channel.


 

From: Mitch Cohen, Vice Chair, Douglas Cable Advisory Committee
To: Douglas Cable Advisory Committee
CC: Douglas Board of Selectmen
Executive Administrator Michael Guzinski
Re: Cable policy sampler
Date: July 12, 2006

The Cable Advisory Committee has been formally tasked with defining policies.  To begin this process I have merged the policy documents I have collected into one large “sampler” document.  The entire file, in PDF format, is 448 pages.  In an effort to save trees I will arrange for the printing of a single copy of this large volume to be stored in Town Hall, and will make the PDF file available to you and all other interested parties via the town web site.  It will be placed in the Cable Programming section, or directly at http://www.douglasma.org/cable/.

All documents are current as of today, in that I gathered (or re-gathered) them today from the web sites today and some via email very recently.

Information contained in this document represents a significant range in information and approach.  Included are formal policy manuals, informal web pages, forms for airing programming, mission statements, etc.  Also included are organizational bylaws for those communities who operate their Public Access programming through a 501c3 non-profit.  While the bylaws as a whole are not applicable to us, some items within may be of benefit.

Information in this document has been gathered from the Public Access stations of Athol-Orange, Beverly, Billerica, Cape Cod, Carver, East Bridgewater, Falmouth, Framingham, Franklin, Hadley, Holliston, Newton, Plymouth, Shrewsbury, Westborough, and Wilmington.  They are presented in this order within the PDF file.

If you wish to focus on specific station’s documents, I suggest starting with Shrewsbury, Newton, Plymouth, and Cape Cod – all stations of which are very highly regarded.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting all of these stations directors.

If you wish to review the web sites of these or any other Public Access station, an excellent starting point is http://www.bevcam.org/peg/.  You may also wish to visit http://www.alliancecm.org/ and http://www.massaccess.org/, two organizations of which we are members and that I’ve become involved in personally.

Before our next meeting we should all take a cursory review of these documents so we can begin to plan our own policy structure and development approach.

Please let me know if you have any questions.